Talk:University

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Why is this list so incomplete?[edit]

There are other universities completely overlooked by this article.

Here is my source which even links to Guiness Book of World Records and other sources with universities not mentioned in this article which are much older.

http://collegestats.org/articles/2009/12/top-10-oldest-universities-in-the-world-ancient-colleges/

--KRaZyXmAn (talk) 04:23, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

Evolving definition of the University[edit]

The article contains the following wrong claim "The original Latin word referred to degree-granting institutions of learning in Western and Central Europe, ..." In fact, the etymology of the term "university" originates from "universus" in Latin, which means "whole, aggregate, entire". It has nothing to do with the geographical regions of Western and Central Europe. Hence, the contents should be reconsidered in this context to include examples outside Western and Central Europe as well! --212.73.146.73 (talk) 04:01, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

In 2007 I quoted the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of a University (from the Second Edition, 1989):

university, n. The whole body of teachers and scholars engaged, at a particular place, in giving and receiving instruction in the higher branches of learning; such persons associated together as a society or corporate body, with definite organization and acknowledged powers and privileges (esp. that of conferring degrees), and forming an institution for the promotion of education in the higher or more important branches of learning; also, the colleges, buildings, etc., belonging to such a body.

This definition, with its focus on the organizational structure of the university has a long historical tradition, but has given rise to a series of edit conflicts on Wikipedia. I recently looked again at the OED and find that it has replaced that with a new definition (from the Third Edition, November 2010):

university, n. 1. a. An institution of higher education offering tuition in mainly non-vocational subjects and typically having the power to confer degrees. Also: the members, colleges, buildings, etc., of such an institution collectively. In later use also in prepositional phrases without article, as at university, to university, etc.
In the Middle Ages: a body of teachers and students engaged in giving and receiving instruction in the higher branches of study (cf. trivium n. 1, quadrivium n. 2) and regarded as a scholastic guild or corporation; an organized body of schools (see school n.1 12a). Later: an institution offering degree courses and research facilities, typically providing some accommodation and other amenities for its students.

This new definition seems to reflect the historical reality that the focus on the corporate structure of the university no longer reflects the status of many modern universities, although it did reflect the situation in medieval Europe. Perhaps this evolving definition offers a way out of some of our recent controversies. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 14:53, 23 August 2013 (UTC)

Having thought a while on this definition, one crucial phrase seems to be "offering tuition in mainly non-vocational subjects". This appears to exclude professional schools such as schools of law, medicine, and theology (which can be traced back to the middle ages) and autonomous schools teaching engineering, architecture, musical performance, and (perhaps) the productive aspects of painting, sculpture, drama, and the other fine arts. The word "mainly" seems to include institutions which taught those subjects in a broader pedagogical context (as medieval universities had advanced faculties of law, medicine and theology and modern universities have schools of engineering, architecture, and performing and fine arts). SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:21, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it's a good practice to rely on a simple dictionary definition of any topic to guide an encyclopedia article when there are much more comprehensive, nuanced, and informed definitions available from scholars who studied and written about the topic in great detail. ElKevbo (talk) 22:26, 23 August 2013 (UTC)
Useful point, but the changing definition in what is widely recognized as the authoritative scholarly source on the English language is a useful sign that the meaning of the term "university" is undergoing a conceptual change. The fact that it is undergoing a change means that we should be especially cautious in using older sources. Finding exactly what that change is and what it implies for Wikipedia can best be found by consulting recent reliable sources on the university and its history. SteveMcCluskey (talk) 15:19, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
It's a preliminary indication of shifts in popular usage, and not really more than that. People might find it helpful to read Wikipedia:Dictionaries as sources. Jonathan A Jones (talk) 06:18, 27 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for the link; which discusses the Oxford English Dictionary as a reliable secondary source (in Wikipedia's sense) and also discusses the issue of changing meanings from older editions of dictionaries. This essay's advice is definitely worth considering. SteveMcCluskey (talk) 13:36, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

Academic freedom[edit]

Those who claim that Constitutio Habita is the origin of academic freedom confuse between legal autonomy and freedom from ideological control. This document concerns the former and says nothing whatsoever about the latter. It is simply naive to suppose that institutions founded and protected by the Catholic Church were free in their scholarly pursuits.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.191.241.225 (talk) 22:11, 23 August 2013‎ (UTC)

Interesting problem. The medieval universities did not have the range of freedom that the modern universities do; yet their institutional autonomy contributed to their claims of academic autonomy. As church-supported institutions, they could claim autonomy from governmental control (their members had the privilege of clergy) and as organized guilds, they could contest their rights in relation to both church and governmental institutions. Historically, the Church occasionally restricted what could be taught at medieval universities, but the medieval universities' institutional autonomy did contribute to the concept of Academic freedom, in a way similar to the influence of medieval urban charters on the development of political freedom. The Middle Ages wasn't modern, but it did provide the seeds of later developments. SteveMcCluskey (talk) 14:29, 27 August 2013 (UTC)

House of Wisdom (I have added this to the article just want ever one to know)[edit]

The House of Wisdom, considered to be the first university in the world, was established in Abbasid-era Baghdad, Iraq.[1] It is considered to have been a major intellectual center during the Islamic Golden Age. In the later medieval period, as science in Byzantium and the Islamic world waned, Western Europeans began collecting ancient texts from the Mediterranean, not only in Latin, but also in Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew. Knowledge of ancient researchers such as Aristotle, Ptolemy, Euclid, amongst Catholic scholars, were recovered with renewed interest in diverse aspects of natural phenomenon. Teaksmitty (talk) 15:06, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

References
I removed the text as the cited source doesn't appear to say anything about this being "considered the first university in the world." Did I miss something or make a mistake? ElKevbo (talk) 16:22, 26 August 2014 (UTC)

Can I add this to the Medieval universities section?[edit]

University of al-Qarawiyyin is the oldest existing, continually operating and the first degree awarding educational institution in the world since 859 founded by Fatima al-Fihri according to UNESCO[1] and Guinness World Records[2] and is sometimes referred to as the oldest university.[3] Moorrests (talk) 13:54, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

References
  1. ^ http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/170
  2. ^ Oldest University
  3. ^ Verger, Jacques: "Patterns", in: Ridder-Symoens, Hilde de (ed.): A History of the University in Europe. Vol. I: Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-521-54113-8, pp. 35–76 (35)
No Verger, Jacques: "Patterns", in: Ridder-Symoens, Hilde de (ed.): A History of the University in Europe. Vol. I: Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-521-54113-8, pp. 35–76 (35):

"No one today would dispute the fact that universities, in the sense in which the term is now generally understood, were a creation of the Middle Ages, appearing for the first time between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. It is no doubt true that other civilizations, prior to, or wholly alien to, the medieval West, such as the Roman Empire, Byzantium, Islam, or China, were familiar with forms of higher education which a number of historians, for the sake of convenience, have sometimes described as universities.Yet a closer look makes it plain that the institutional reality was altogether different and, no matter what has been said on the subject, there is no real link such as would justify us in associating them with medieval universities in the West. Until there is definite proof to the contrary, these latter must be regarded as the sole source of the model which gradually spread through the whole of Europe and then to the whole world. We are therefore concerned with what is indisputably an original institution, which can only be defined in terms of a historical analysis of its emergence and its mode of operation in concrete circumstances." J8079s (talk) 19:01, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

You forget to write down were it says University of al-Qarawiyyin is the oldest University :) Moorrests (talk) 20:30, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
You make it hard to WP:Assume good faith. The sources do not justify an entry here. The subject is disscussed at length at the talk page. J8079s (talk) 20:35, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
Note that you can find this previous discussoion in the archives, linked at the top of this page. Jonathan A Jones (talk) 22:11, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
The paragraph you have provided does not prove anything. On the other hand I have provided 3 reliable and notable sources. Moorrests (talk) 22:29, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
The quote is from the source you provided. None of the sources say that this was a "University" in 859 WP:Verify the burden is on you to show that this should be included even though the source says it should not. You may be on the wrong wiki. J8079s (talk) 00:40, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I am not sure what sources are you looking at but source 1 says Founded in the 9th century and home to the oldest university in the world[1], source 2 says University of Karueein[2] and source 3 says University of al-Qarawiyyin[3]. Moorrests (talk) 14:14, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
References
  1. ^ http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/170
  2. ^ http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-university
  3. ^ Verger, Jacques: "Patterns", in: Ridder-Symoens, Hilde de (ed.): A History of the University in Europe. Vol. I: Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0-521-54113-8, pp. 35–76 (35)
The first two sources don't establish what you claim they do (hint: read carefully what they actually say), even if they were reliable sources on which substantial weight could be placed for the history of universities (which they're not). For the third source (which is at least superficially a good source) please quote the exact text you think is relevant, and explain why it doesn't contradict the text quoted by J8079s, or, if it does contradict this text, why the contradiction should be resolved in the way you suggest. Jonathan A Jones (talk) 17:29, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Oldest university?[edit]

IT is false that the oldest university is the university of Bologna. It is well known that University of Salerno came before. http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/~bump/OriginUniversities.html In fact, it is also reported on the wikipedia page in many other languages. Only in english there is this mistake — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:7E8:C064:C501:E5BD:A25:4519:32E1 (talk) 22:26, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

according to the source you provided Salerno is not a degree granting "University" We we would need better sources to include it. J8079s (talk) 02:09, 25 February 2015 (UTC)